In an essay on Arendt in this year’s Critique 13/13 Seminars, Seyla Benhabib asks whether it makes sense to read Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition as a core text in the somewhat arcane world of critical theory. For Benahabib, Arendt’s text is “critical” insofar as it “shares with the Marxist tradition a critique of the alienation of the homo faber from the products...
All mere chasing after the future so as to work out a picture of it through calculation in order to extend what is present and half thought into what, now veiled, is yet to come, itself still moves within the prevailing attitude belonging to technological calculating representation.
- Martin Heidegger, The Turning
Jesse Singal tells the story of Desh Amila, a Sri Lankan immigrant and Australian citizen who “has built a career out of facilitating intellectually oriented public events, often between people with serious disagreements.” Desh, as he is called, has specialized in organizing difficult conversations on topics like Islamic extremism.
People often ask me, “Why Arendt?” The honest answer is that I fell in love with her writing my freshman year of college, reading The Human Condition on a brown leather sofa in the library, between the stacks.
Daniel Ellsberg was the quintessential whistleblower. He was an expert insider who had evidence of government misconduct. After attempts to expose the misconduct to his superiors, he offered it to journalists. Ellsberg’s whistleblowing led to the publication of “The Pentagon Papers,” which became the raw material for one of Hannah Arendt’s prescient essays “Lying in Politics.”
When I was a graduate student teaching at UC Berkeley I was asked to sign a statement that I would report people with suspicious immigration backgrounds. When I applied for professorships at certain traditionally religious schools, I was asked to swear that I would not promote abortion in my classes.